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Will Durst — How many turkeys died for your dinner?

We’ve spent such a large portion of the past year cringing at the prospect of potential disasters crouching behind every bush: ISIS, Putin, Trump, Belicheck, lion-killing dentists, that a national holiday right about now is a blessed respite. For one 24-hour period, the whole country can focus on something benign. Unless, you’re a Black Friday shopper. But those are self-inflicted injuries.

Christine M. Flowers — Both sides half right on refugees

I rarely write about immigration, partly because I spend enough time practicing immigration law, and partly because my words are taken with a grain of salt the size of that dinosaur-killing meteor. My conservative friends raise their eyebrows in that, “We love her, but gosh darn, she should get her head checked,” kind of way whenever I champion any form of legalization, while the liberals just flare their nostrils and say, “Yeah, the chick is only interested in getting rich off of the poor illegals.”

Losing our nuclear edge

Climate scientists want the world to use more nuclear energy to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, yet America’s nuclear sector is withering. Unless Congress acts to encourage next-generation nuclear technology, the United States will be relegated to second-tier status when it comes to the development and deployment of smaller, cheaper, safer reactors that could play a crucial role in low-carbon electricity production all over the world.

A major pot trial for Mexico

Mexico may soon enter an elite club composed of Holland, Portugal, Uruguay and Colorado, Oregon and Washington state: It’s on the verge of excluding marijuana from the destructive war on drugs. But will the United States stand in its way?

Time for some horse sense on transportation planning

In 1898, just before the dawn of the automobile age, delegates from around the world came to New York for the world’s first international urban planning conference. One topic dominated the discussion. It wasn’t the effects of the coming car revolution on urban land use, the need for gasoline stations or the implications for economic development. It was horse manure. At that time, Americans used roughly 20 million horses for transport, and cities were drowning in their muck.

Jay Ambrose — Fighting against science and the human good

It’s the right wing that is anti-scientific, it is often said. But for plentiful examples of utterly irrational, even life-threatening disregard of methodically conducted research and solid empirical evidence, look to your left. More specifically, look to zany environmentalist politicians and, right now, especially in Europe, look at what’s being done to ban the blessing of genetically altered foods.

How the widening urban-rural divide threatens America

Of all the growing divides in America, none is sharper than that between city and country. For rural residents, existential issues on the national level are seen as magnified versions of personal considerations: Does the country have enough food, fuel and minerals? Can America defend itself, protect its friends and punish its enemies? These concerns differ markedly from the urbanite’s worry about whether the government will provide services to take care of vulnerable populations or whether those of different races and religions can get along in such a crowded environment. Add all this up and rural residents are more likely to be conservative and thus Republican, their urban counterparts liberal and logically Democratic. Most hot-button issues — deficit spending, defense, same-sex marriage, amnesty, affirmative action, gun control and abortion — break along rural or urban lines.